I think the major reason women are having trouble understanding the vetting issues and why they are effective to a large extent is because they are taking an all or nothing mentality when the world is more fluid than that.
In general, I’ve used the analogy before about what Jesus talks about on the cost of discipleship in Luke 14.
Luke 14:25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Essentially, vetting is counting the cost of finding a wife. Searching for a wife of certain criteria is prognostic. The prognostic pros and cons are weighed against the other opportunity cost which is remaining single.
- Will this woman bring more value to my life than if I was single?
- Can I do more for Christ with or without this woman by my side as a wife?
The other analogy I would use is doing your homework, studying, and taking an exam.
No one would say you shouldn’t do your homework before an exam. Most of the material that is given in homework is to eventually prepare you for the exam. Likewise, most people would not believe that doing homework is solely enough to prepare you for an exam. You should study and review the material in order to learn the information aside from homework to prepare for the examination. Both homework and studying help to prepare you for the rigors of the exam.
By this same analogy we can come to see three generally accurate conclusions:
- Homework is akin to statistical vetting. Statistical vetting provides a clear framework for which to evaluate the potential framework and questions that the exam will likely have.
- Studying is akin to vetting behavior and attitudes. Attitudes are critical for examining the heart of a person, and past and current behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. This is especially true of Christians: what they were like before and after their conversion. A changed heart shows in thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions. Hearthie also posted on the absence of malice which is good.
- The Exam is akin to marriage. You don’t really know what you’re going to get, but at least you have prepared for it. You’ve done all you can do for it, and now you’re ready to accept whatever it has to offer. If you didn’t prepare for it then you’re risking your life on the whim of feelings.
Ultimately, we all know that is God who gives the exam. You do all you can to find a worthy wife, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Proverbs 19:14 House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 31:10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.
In the end, it’s really that simple. Christian men should be doing their homework and studying to prepare for exams, but ultimately we know that on some level you don’t know what you’re going to get when you take the exam. However, we do know that the homework is a really good prognosticator of what a stable marriage looks like, and studying for it will tend to select for good quality women.